The core region of primate auditory cortex contains a primary and two primary-like fields (AI, primary auditory cortex; R, rostral field; RT, rostrotemporal field). Although it is reasonable to assume that multiple core fields provide an advantage for auditory processing over a single primary field, the differential roles these fields play and whether they form a functional pathway collectively such as for the processing of spectral or temporal information are unknown. In this report we compare the response properties of neurons in the three core fields to pure tones and sinusoidally amplitude modulated tones in awake marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). The main observations are as follows. (1) All three fields are responsive to spectrally narrowband sounds and are tonotopically organized. (2) Field AI responds more strongly to pure tones than fields R and RT. (3) Field RT neurons have lower best sound levels than those of neurons in fields AI and R. In addition, rate-level functions in field RT are more commonly nonmonotonic than in fields AI and R. (4) Neurons in fields RT and R have longer minimum latencies than those of field AI neurons. (5) Fields RT and R have poorer stimulus synchronization than that of field AI to amplitude-modulated tones. (6) Between the three core fields the more rostral regions (R and RT) have narrower firing-rate-based modulation transfer functions than that of AI. This effect was seen only for the nonsynchronized neurons. Synchronized neurons showed no such trend.
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